IMAGINE that you are sitting next to a complete stranger who has been given £10 to share between the two of you. He must choose how much to keep for himself and how much to give to you.
He can be as selfish or as generous as he likes, with one proviso: if you refuse his offer, neither of you gets any money at all. What would it take for you to turn him down?
This is the scenario known to economists as the ultimatum game. Now the way we play it is generating remarkable insights into how the human brain drives financial decisionmaking, social interactions and even the supremely irrational behaviour of suicide bombers and gangland killers.
According to standard economic theory, you should cheerfully accept anything you are given. People are assumed to be motivated chiefly by rational self-interest, and refusing any offer, however low, is tantamount to cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Yet in practice derisory offers are declined all the time. Indeed, if the sum is less than £2.50, four out of five of us tell the selfish so-and-so to get lost. We get so angry at his deliberate unfairness that we are prepared to incur a cost to ourselves, purely to punish him.
Homo sapiens is clearly not Homo economicus, the ultra-rational being imagined by many professional economists.
I’ve seen enough wage negotiations over the years to see this scenario acted out on a larger scale in regards to wages and health-care. The powers that be act as if they were civilized and all as the person across the table weighs how much accepting a pittance measures against saying screw you, you wouldn’t be wearing that Rolex without the work I do and which you are happy to take credit for. If you have family it is especially difficult to say screw you as much as you might have every justification for doing so. Part of the problem with all the so called economic indicators is the failure to measure just how much BS average workers and middle managers put up with and don’t say anything, more often then not for the sake of their families.
If we always accepted low offers for the sake of tiny gains, we would rapidly get a reputation as a soft touch. Everybody else would try to bilk us at every turn. By acting apparently against our interests, we do better in the long run. Our ancestors were better at surviving if they were bloody-minded. Professor Camerer explained: “Emotion is nature’s way of letting people know that if you’re treated badly you’ll do something about it.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) sent this letter April 7, 2004, Read CREW’s letter from April of 2004 asking for investigation of Curt Weldon
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requests that you have the Department’s Public Integrity Section investigate whether Pennsylvania Congressman Curt Weldon violated federal bribery law by using his public office to benefit companies that hired his daughter as a lobbyist.
Karen Weldon lobbies extensively for foreign companies on behalf of which Congressman Weldon has used his position to assist. A lengthy Los Angeles Times article detailed the relationship between Mr. Weldon and clients of his daughter’s lobbying firm, Solutions North America, Inc. Ken Silverstein, Chuck Neubauer, Richard Cooper, Lucrative Deals for a Daughter of Politics; Karen Weldon whose dad is a Pennsylvania congressmen is a lobbyist for three foreign clients who need his help, and get it, Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2004 (attached as Exhibit A). Mr. Weldon’s involvement with three of Ms. Weldon’s clients stand out:
Usually not funny when a Congressman of the United States of America has acted in a way to invite four separate FBI raids, but those that think irony is dead are treated to a couple to laughs by a blogger that calls himself “The American Thinker”, apparently pretentiousness is alive and well too, Clintonoids trying to get Curt Weldon, where he quotes a passage from Weldon’s little tin-foil opus entitled Countdown to Terror, on the Clinton years.,
“The gross incompetence in the intelligence community over the last decade, combined with the current rebellion of intelligence community leaders, especially at the CIA, justifies a dismissal of present leaders in all agencies and across the entire intelligence community. The straightforward solution would be to fire everybody above the level of GS-15.”
“The American Thinker” adds this deeply sage advice, “Americans with their heads on straight should support Curt Weldon.”
When the “Thinker” says support Weldon he made no qualifiers on that statement so we can safely assume that applies when Curt The Perfect Weldon said that civilian command of the military is not in America’s best interests,
The second-ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, who is a strong supporter of the U.S. military mission in Iraq, has drafted a resolution that would give military commanders — instead of President Bush or Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld — decision-making authority over when American troops should return home.
Congressman Weldon should be listened to according to the “Thinker” which would extend to finding those non-existent WMD. Well they might exist Bush just don’t have the qualified people in Iraq to find them. What Bush should do is send Curt Weldon (R-PA) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), they know for a fact where those pesky WMD are, Curt and Pete’s Excellent Adventure
Instead, Gaubatz said, Weldon latched onto the idea as a “personal political venture” and discussed a Hoekstra-Weldon trip to Iraq, under the guise of visiting the troops, that would detour to Nasiriyah.
Once there, Gaubatz said, the congressmen planned to persuade the U.S. military commander to lend them the equipment and men to go digging by the Euphrates for the cache Gaubatz believed to be there.
He said that Weldon made it clear he didn’t want word leaked to the Pentagon, to intelligence officials, or to Democratic congressmen.
As Gaubatz told me: “They even worked out how it would go. If there was nothing there, nothing would be said. If the site had been [scavenged], nothing would be said. But, if it was still there, they would bring the press corps out.”
Yep, while The American Thinker( I laugh everytime I type that), Curt Weldon, and Pete Hoekstra are going to find those rascally wabbits, I mean WMD and while they’re there they plan to open up a bait and tackle shop to make their fortune. Curt and “Thinker” could probably make a few bucks by running a brain tumor consulting business on the side, Curt has some very strong opinions as to what constitutes appropriate behavior when your child gets a tumor. While Curt does not have a medical degree or any special training in counter- terrorism that has never stopped him from acting like an expert. Heck, pretending to be a decent human being may even get Curt re-elected. Though at present Curt is behind a bit in the polls. If he looses I’m sure he’ll have quite a little cottage industry of tin-foil followers who’ll cough up money to hear his lectures and buy his printed doggerel. Old conspiracy nuts never die they just disappear one day and their followers write more books which they all buy like some Mary Kay pyramid of crack-pot theories and some day they’ll all be rich from buying each other’s political tin-foil, applicator icluded, postage and handling extra.
“It is a besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which masses of men exhibit their tyranny.” – James Fenimore Cooper